There's so little we know about Supreme Leader Snoke, the menacing shadow which haunts the edges of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His identity (though there are fan theories), his motivations, his interests in Kylo Ren.
That said, Cinema Blend has managed to tease one morsel of information from ILM visual effects artist Rogert Guyett and Pat Tubach; specifically, that the inspiration for Snoke's look was lifted from the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Or in precise terms, the imposing, seated statue which resides within Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.
"Imagine when you’re a kid or whatever, you go up and you stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And you see old Lincoln in a huge chair. There’s a certain quality about that," Guyett commented. "So, that was certainly sort of part of the inspiration for it all. But I think, hologram, you know? The idea really in that opening scene is sort of like, ‘What is going on here. Ok, it’s a hologram. Is he really this big?’ OK, once you figure out that it’s a hologram, of course it’s like, ‘Well how big is he?'"
Considering so little in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars universe seems incidental; what could this revelation on Snoke's inspirations possibly tell us? Is Snoke a power fallen from good? A once public and charismatic leader? It's simply interesting to see the character derived from a statue that's known to hold a certain reverence over those who come across it; does this tell us something of the effect Snoke has on others in his presence?
"I think one thing that is interesting, too, is just the nature of how he ended up looking, that kind of came out of a lot of exploration." Guyett continued. "Just our lighting tests, just starting to light that chamber and figure out, kind of, what did that light do in there. Seeing him so dramatically backlit like that is something that I think was kind of inspirational."
"Because there is, realizing that, ‘Hey, if you reduce a lot of the color down and you just make this very visceral, black-and-white silhouetted character, he gets that much more menacing.’ His size, you know, already makes him menacing, and then you have this sort of [effect of] you can’t quite see what you’re looking at all the time. I think it really adds to his mystique."
Guyett also placed emphasis on Snoke's role in the upcoming films; "The thing that I think will be revealed in future movies is more of, you know, you’re probably seeing more of Snoke. Obviously he’s an ongoing character and a lot of those things I think your fans and people on your site or whatever are analyzing, will be discussed. A lot of that stuff will be revealed in the future."
So Snoke continues to (mostly) remain a mystery. Although one thing could be confirmed about the Snoke we see in The Force Awakens; he is, indeed, "a hologram."
Star Wars: Episode VIII hits UK theatres 15 December 2017.
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